8 things to know about Boeing's relationships with health systems

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Chicago-based Boeing Company, the largest aerospace company in the world, is making a splash in the healthcare field.

Here are eight things to know about Boeing's relationships with health systems.

1. Boeing spends $2.5 billion on healthcare for 480,000 employees, dependents and retirees. As of December 31, 2014, Boeing and its subsidiaries employed over 165,000 people in the United States and more than 65 countries.

2. In October 2012, Boeing created a bundled-payment agreement with the Cleveland Clinic. Through the agreement, almost 83,000 employees, retirees and dependents who are not eligible for Medicare are able to access necessary cardiac procedures at Cleveland Clinic for a fixed price. Boeing also agreed to cover the cost of travel and lodging for the patient and a travel companion. Those eligible are insured by Boeing health plans administered by UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

3. In June 2014, Boeing announced partnerships with two Seattle-based systems: University of Washington School of Medicine and Providence-Swedish Health Alliance. In an attempt to save money, the plans created lower paycheck contributions and allowed employees to pay less when seeking care. Employees also received primary care treatment and generic prescriptions at no extra cost.

Coverage began Jan. 1, 2015, but employees had the option to keep their original plan.

4. Last month, Boeing partnered with St. Louis-based Mercy to offer a healthcare plan. The Preferred Partnership option is available to 13,000 Boeing employees and their dependents in the St. Louis area, certain areas in Illinois for nonunion workers and employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1.

Enrollees will have lower paycheck contributions for some options, cheaper primary care visits and generic drugs and the freedom to see any specialty provider in the Mercy network without a referral from a primary care physician. Boeing estimates the plan will save employees between $350 and $1,000 annually depending on the number of enrollees.

Coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2016. As with Boeing's plans in Washington state, employees can still choose to keep their current plan.

5. Boeing launched a similar plan with Charleston, S.C.-based Roper St. Francis July 29. The clinically integrated network, which will be available to over 6,000 employees in the Lowcountry, offers a number of benefits, including same-day or next-day primary care appointments, an online scheduling portal and cheaper prescription drugs and appointment copayments.

Although Boeing's existing healthcare options will remain in place, coverage for the new plan will begin Jan. 1, 2016.

6. Boeing's hub locations forecast where it will set up healthcare plans. Although its headquarters are in Chicago, Boeing has other employment hubs around the U.S. dictating the contracts it strikes with providers. The company employs roughly 86,000 workers at its Washington state manufacturing hub, hence the agreements in that state. In 2013, Boeing shared plans to add 2,000 jobs to South Carolina by 2020, bringing employment to 8,000 workers. Other key locations for Boeing include Texas and California, which may be its next sites for creating a healthcare plan.

7. Boeing ranks high on a number of lists. The company, which generated almost $100 billion in sales last year, was ranked 27th on the 2015 Fortune 500 list, 85th on the 2015 Fortune Global 500 list and 27th on Fortune's 2015 "World's Most Admired Companies" list.

8. The company went through a CEO transition last year. In June 2014, Jim McNerney stepped down from his position as CEO. His successor, Dennis Muilenburg, has been with Boeing for over 30 years and previously served as president and COO. Mr. McNerney will retire in February 2016 but will keep his role as chairman.

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